No Beginning, No End (Written November 3, 2017)

No Beginning, No End

She went inside, locking the door.
If I was who I said I was,
why had she never seen me before?
A walk around the block would do me good,

We both agreed. It was raining
but not hard. The wind had shifted
to the north, bringing colder, arctic air
that blew right through my poor hat.
The traffic was heavy on Champlain,

A steady stream that had no beginning
and no end. If I lost my balance,
as I clung to the edge of the sidewalk,
I might fall in front of a car and just like that,
as if by magic, all my troubles would be over.

Down Sainte Croix the traffic was light
to nonexistent. A woman I knew, a neighbor,
came toward me, her dog on a leash.
I asked his name, not for the first time.
We can be glad it’s not snow, she said,

Pulling her jacket tight around her shoulders.
In a shelter in a far corner of the parking lot
smokers congregated and made small talk.
Two or three stood outside the shelter,
in the rain, as if to punish themselves

For their bad behavior, or just because
it was too crowded inside. Farther down,
along the back road, a family of pheasants,
mama, papa, and six fledglings,
scurried to find a way down into the marsh.

I was cold, with the wind in my face,
but now, at least, I had something
I could tell her, something that might
please her and jog her memory.

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